December 26, 2000, 9:55 AM

Unlocking the doors

Just like shoppers to a store in the real world, visitors to Wal-Mart.com in October saw a sign: “Closed for remodeling.” After nearly a month’s hiatus, WalMart.com reopened on Halloween. The revamped site now features a tabular design and enhanced search capabilities. It added more detailed product descriptions and zoom capabilities for product pictures. And while no new products were added, some were removed. “We were selling 79-cent bobby pins and 25-cent plastic tumblers online,” says a spokeswoman. Such low-margin items were costing the company more to process than it made from the sale.

WalMart will not say how much money it lost by closing its site, only that the closing was planned. The company says it wanted to focus exclusively on migrating its content to the new platform, rather than trying to maintain both sites. WalMart bought the new technology platform from HomeWarehouse.com in July.

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